Rex is a burglar who rob people's houses and sell items to antique shop. He has a girlfriend who is on benefits so he helps her out with the money. The girl has a child from another man who is a drug addict and he always pesters her for money.


1. Chapter One



Chapter one


M. Bannister


When Rex saw his bedroom door open he felt a rage surge up inside of him.  Which one was it, his mother or father or maybe his older sister, Carol?  He could smell it before he even saw it, but he pushed the door open wide and saw a brown mess on his bed.  His mother’s incontinent cat, Ronnie, had done his business.  He looked around the room but couldn’t see him anywhere.

“Mum,” shouted Rex from the upstairs landing, “That bloody cat of yours has shit on my bed.  Who left my door open?  I closed it before I went out this morning.”

Getting no reply upstairs, he raced downstairs and into the kitchen.  As soon as he entered the kitchen he felt the sweat push out of his skin making him feel damp.  Not just the hot summer weather, but his mother had various pots and pans on, cooking vegetables, and a chicken in the oven, that together made the kitchen as hot as a furnace.  He wiped his sweaty hands on his jeans and undid another button on his blue shirt.

Rex, aged twenty five, was a burglar.  He had burgled places since he was in his last year at school.  And now as he stood there staring at his mother’s back, he wished it was night and he was doing a job, anywhere but here.

“Mum, somebody has left my door open and now Ronnie has shit on my bed.”

Her short, black and greying hair was matted to the back of her neck.  She wiped her forehead with a hand and breathed a sigh.  “I never left it open.  Your sister went in there this morning for her alarm clock.”

“The stupid cow, why couldn’t she just close the door afterwards,” he said.  “Where is she?”

“Gone out,” his mother said, stirring the cabbage in the pan of boiling water.  Only when Ronnie moved did Rex realise he was lying on the kitchen table – his black coat blending in with the dark colour of the wooden table top.  You could see he was uncomfortable in the heat.

“When will you change my bedding, mum?”

“Later my darling, later.  You can set the table if you want?”

Rex pulled open the cutlery drawer and took out four knives and four forks.  He noisily plonked the lot on the corner of the table in protest to Ronnie still lying there.

“Come on Ronnie, time to move,” said Rex, trying to hide the hostility he was feeling towards him.

“Go round him,” said his mum.

How many times had he, or the other two occupants of the house, suggested that she get rid of Ronnie.  He was old, had most of his teeth missing and was thin, that and the incontinence made him unpopular in the house.  But when it was suggested to do the kind thing and put him down, she wouldn’t hear of it.  She went around the house cleaning up after him, jealously guarding and loving him at the same time.  It was her house so she had the right to do what she wanted in her own house.  Even Harold, her husband, took a back seat when it came to matters within the house.

Rex managed to lay the table around Ronnie even though every movement in the kitchen was punished by the heat.  Not able to withstand the heat any more, and growing impatient with Ronnie, Rex left the kitchen.  The living room was small and with almost no room to stand up in.  What was in there, however, was a sofa, matching two armchairs and a large dining table with six chairs around it.  The TV was squeezed into one of the corners.  Harold, Rex’s father, was sat in one of the armchairs reading the local newspaper.  Because this room was at the back of the house and caught little sun, it was considerably cooler than the front of the house, the kitchen and small dining room.

“Hello dad,” said Rex, as he walked in and plonked himself down on the sofa.

“What’s all the racket about?”

Harold was short and plump with blue eyes that from age and ill health were bloodshot and covered with an opaque film.  He had a triple chin and skin that was old and leathery.

“Carol left my bedroom door open and Ronnie’s done his business on my bed.”

Harold sniffed loudly and shot a glance at him.  “Your mother will clean it up.”

“That’s bloody typical of Carol, couldn’t care less,” said Rex, feeling the anger rising again.

“You were out again last night, where d’you get to?”

“Out with my mates.”

“What about that painting by the stairs, the picture of a steam train” said Harold, now looking at him over his paper?

“Why d’you ask when you already know?”

The entire household knew what he did most nights.  They were used to seeing odd items in the hallway come the morning.  They were never there long and anyway, Rex always had lots of money to put towards the weekly bills.  So nobody complained, they just tolerated it and asked few questions.

Suddenly Harold began to breathe faster.  “Damn chest getting tight again,” he managed to say.

The whole household knew about the old mans heart condition.  He was always suffering from tightness or pains in the chest.  Sometimes, though less often than his chest complaints, he would suffer from a numb right arm.  The numbness would leave after a minute or so, but all the same, it was distressing for all concerned.

“Have you been taking your medication?”

“Of course, but it does no good,” answered Harold.  His chubby hands went up to his chest as he began to breathe erratically.  “Phone for an ambulance, this is worse than usual, Rex,” said Harold. 

“Do you want me to drive you to hospital in my car?” said Rex.

“No.  Just phone an ambulance.” 

Rex pulled out his mobile phone from his shirt pocket and called for an ambulance.  “Is there anything I can do dad?”

“No.  Just stand outside and wait for the ambulance.  In the past they’ve gone to the wrong house, the stupid buggers.”  One of his hands formed a fist and he began to thump his chest.

“What are you doing dad?” said Rex.

“I know it probably doesn’t do anything, but it makes me feel better.”

“How d’you mean?”

“Well, it keeps my heart beating, well, I think it does anyway.  Less of the chat son, go out and wait for the ambulance.  Better tell your mother first.”

Rex went into the kitchen.  His mother was enjoying a cup of tea sat at the kitchen table.  It was very steamy and hot in there.

“Mum, dad wants an ambulance, so I’ve called one for him,” he said. 

She sighed heavily as if to say, not again, and then nodded to Rex to indicate she’d heard him.  He went outside and waited for the ambulance.  Ten minutes later he heard the siren and a couple more minutes brought the ambulance coming down his street.

“Where is he?” said one of the paramedics as she jumped down from the ambulance.

“Follow me,” said Rex.

The other paramedic followed them both into the house.

“Hello Harold, can you hear me?” said the female paramedic.  Harold had now apparently lost consciousness.  There was no reply.

“I’ll get the board,” said the other paramedic and left the room.

Rex had been with his father during many heart problems in the past, but never had he lost consciousness before.  “Will he be all right?”

“I don’t know,” said the paramedic.  They put him on the board and gave him oxygen and an injection.  Rex went in the ambulance with them to hospital.  He regained consciousness in the ambulance, and was pleased to see Rex there with him.

“You’re doing fine dad, don’t worry,” he said.

“I feel fine now.  I don’t really need to go to hospital, hey,” he shouted to the two paramedics in the front of the ambulance.  He took the oxygen mask off.   “I don’t need any help now, I’m fine.”

The female paramedic came back and put the oxygen mask back over his face.  “I’m glad you’re feeling fine now Mr. Firth, but as a precaution we still would like you to be checked over in hospital.”

“I don’t need checking over, tell them Rex,” he shouted.

“Calm down Mr. Firth, it isn’t doing you any good getting excited,” said the paramedic.

“She’s right dad, you need checking over,” said Rex.  He got a good look at her rear as she climbed back into the front passenger seat.  He guessed she was about thirty, and good looking with it.  He was imagining kissing her when he suddenly realised the grave situation his father was in and the reason why he was in the ambulance.

“You stay calm dad, and we’ll get you home soon.”

His father had been fat in the past, until he’d had a heart attack.  Then the doctor advised him to loose weight, which he did easily.  He wasn’t thin now, he was just plump.

When they got to hospital they put him in a cubicle and ran various tests.  They both waited for the results of the tests.  Three times Rex had to physically stop his father from leaving the hospital.  The results were inconclusive, but they told him to take it easy and try to loose more weight.  Rex and his dad took a taxi back home.

“I want a lie down on my bed but I don’t feel like going up the stairs, so I’ll just lay on the sofa down here.”

Rex went into the kitchen.  Everything was turned off except for the oven where there were two plates of food remaining hot for him and his dad.  His mum wasn’t in the kitchen or in the living room.  He guessed she was having a lie down upstairs.  He opened the oven door, and taking a tea towel, he took out a plate of food and placed it on the table.  The chicken and the vegetables were dry beneath a pool of coagulated gravy. 

As he was eating, his sister Carol came in.  Carol was no oil painting with just a plain face, she was frumpy and in her usual jeans and T shirt.  “I heard dad’s been to hospital.  How is he?

“He’s okay.  You went into my room this morning and left the door open, you silly cow, and Ronnie shit on my bed.”

“Hey, I’m not a cow.  I might be silly, but I’m not a cow.  I’m sorry, I forgot okay.”

“Just stay out of my room in future.  You know Ronnie likes to go on my bed.”

“Is dad’s dinner in the oven?” said Carol.


She picked up the tea towel that Rex had thrown on the table and opened the oven door.  She took the hot plate of food out and grabbing a knife and fork with her free hand, she closed the oven door with a backward flip of her foot.

Rex was thinking about the coming night.  He was definitely going to do a house, but where?  He made up his mind that Inkermin Street was due for a going over.  Having finished his meal, he placed the dirty things in the sink, and went out to his car that was parked in the street next to the house.  He opened the boot.  There was the large, black leather bag.  Inside it was all the things he needed for burglary, including a small crowbar, pliers, masking tape and a glass cutter.  He closed the bag and boot and went back inside for the painting that was leaning against the banisters.  He put it on the vacant front passenger seat and drove into town. 

He pulled up outside an antique dealer’s shop and took the painting inside.  He knew Mr. Chichester well and always brought old things to him.

“Hello, Rex, what have you got for me this time?” came a croaky voice from the back of the shop.  His fat body was hidden by a large chest of drawers so only his head could be seen.

“I’ve got a painting for you, John,” said Rex.  He walked the little path down the shop, in between various old pieces of furniture, until he came to John sitting at a small desk.  John took the painting and placed it on the desk.  Turning a spotlight on and picking up a magnifying glass, he scrutinized the painting.

“Two hundred pounds.  Is that okay?” he said, putting the magnifying glass down.

“It’ll have to,” said Rex. 

John did the usual and asked Rex to wait there, while he went to the back of the shop and to the safe for the money.

“It’s been a pleasure doing business with you,” said Rex, as he pocketed the two hundred pounds and walked out.

“Likewise,” said John.

When Rex got home he found his dad lying on the sofa asleep, Carol was up in her room and mum was in the kitchen making supper.  Rex went up to his bedroom and was relieved to find that someone had changed his bedclothes.  He switched on his small, portable TV, and lay on his bed and watched it.  He must have fallen asleep because he awoke to the sound of his mother shouting up the stairs that supper was ready.  Carol was sat at the kitchen table eating cheese macaroni, along with his mum.  His dad was eating his supper on the sofa.  When he had finished, Rex went upstairs again to his bedroom.  He turned the TV off and got some shut-eye for a few hours.

Rex woke up at 1.30 am.  He knew the household were asleep.  He left the house and got into his car.  Then he drove to the top of Inkermin Street and parked his car.  He got out of his car, and only on one side of the street started to try each door.  When he got to the end of the street, finding no door unlocked, he started on the other side of the street.  The third house was open.  All the lights were off as he walked in and went into the front room.  He turned the front room light on.  There was a large plasma TV, DVD player and a large CD sound system.  He unplugged it all and put it near the front door.  Then he went and got his car.  He parked just outside the front door and went inside again.  He picked up the TV.

“You fucking bastard.”

Rex turned round and saw a middle-aged man in his pyjamas standing at the other side of the front room.  He was brandishing a large kitchen knife.  Rex wished he had a weapon on him, but he had nothing.

“You’re not taking those things,” said the man.  The knife cut into the air as his hand and whole body shook.  He took two steps closer to Rex.

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